Dahmer: Legacy of Terror
First TMJ4 reporter at Dahmer apartment
Dahmer: Reporter who broke the news Video by wtmj.comvideo
MILWAUKEE – Former TODAY'S TMJ4 crime reporter Jeff Fleming broke the news to Milwaukee that a serial killer was living in an apartment at 25th & Kilbourn. Fleming remembers his first conversation with a police officer in the middle of that July night.
"It was a very quiet night. Kind of warm and muggy,” Fleming recounted to TODAY’S TMJ4 reporter Tom Murray. "I asked him, ‘is this a big deal?’. He said, 'oh yeah, it's a really big deal.’"
In those early hours, Fleming was first to report the suspect's name. Jeffrey Dahmer quickly became known as one of Milwaukee’s worst criminals.
"Ultimately, we learned Dahmer was trying to create Zombie sex slaves,” Fleming said.
A TMJ4 photographer captured video of the infamous blue barrel carried out by a hazmat team. Viewers would soon learn that Dahmer filled the barrel with chemicals to destroy body parts.
Fleming worked police sources to get inside the apartment.
"We asked if we could go in and take pictures and he said ‘absolutely not’,” Fleming said.
However, a police officer quietly allowed Fleming into the Oxford Apartments without a camera to peer through the doorway into Dahmer's unit.
“There wasn't anything particularly creepy about it, other than there was a lava lamp that was still operating, a rolled up carpet on the floor that had just come back from the cleaners. Nothing that would indicate the horrors that went on inside that apartment,” Fleming said in an interview Monday.
Fleming would go on to cover the Dahmer case for months. Two decades later, details of that first night are burned in his memory.
"Jeffrey Dahmer was not a drug dealer or a gang member,” Fleming reflected. “He was a guy who looked like the guy who lived next door."
Fleming now works for the City of Milwaukee and is active in Democratic party politics.